Sunday, January 31, 2010

Take Me Out To The Ballgame...

With the Super Bowl a week away, one would guess that not TOO many people are thinking about baseball season. Well, with the exception of me and the thousands of other Texas Rangers fans who braved below freezing temperatures and even colder winds at The Rangers Ballpark in Arlington yesterday for the annual Rangers Fanfest.

WARNING: this is going to be like a diary entry. It's going to get pretty long!! So much stuff to talk about!! :)

I got to The Ballpark a little before 8am (yes, you read that correctly, I was up and about before 8am on a Saturday!) In my head I was thinking, "oh, it's freezing, I bet there won't be many people there." WRONG. Fanfest gates weren't scheduled to open until 9am and already by 8am, the line to get in stretched from the first base gate to just past the center field gate (for those not familiar with The Ballpark, that is the equivalent to almost 2 city blocks.) At one point we realized that a light snow was falling. And just so my mother doesn't call yelling at me for being out in the cold, I was wearing a coat, hat, gloves, ear muffs and even had my Rangers blanket wrapped around me.

Yes, it was very cold!

My main reason to get there so early was to get Josh Hamilton's autograph (he is one of my favorite players on the Rangers). He was scheduled to sign first. Yes, I turn into a giddy 12 year old when it comes to meeting "famous people"! They only allow so many people to get autographs and it's on a first come, first serve, basis. Different players are at different locations around the Ballpark throughout the day. After standing outside the Ballpark in line for an hour (my friend Aaron braved the cold and showed up about 8:30), we hurried across the park in hopes of getting Josh's autograph (and the line for that was already long). They hand out tickets for autographs and once the tickets run out, you are out of luck (they do this so you don't wait in line for 2 hours only to be denied access). I know it sounds silly, but when I was handed the ticket, I almost felt like Charlie in Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory feeling like I had received a "golden ticket". Except it was blue. I had brought my copy of Josh's biography, Beyond Belief, for him to sign. I knew at Fanfest players aren't supposed to "personalize" the autographs, but I still wanted him to sign it anyways. **author's note: Even if you don't like baseball, this is a very good book. If you don't know much about Josh and his past, I recommend reading up on him. He has an amazing story.**

So, after waiting in the cold for another hour and a half in the line to see Josh, we finally were able to get inside to The Diamond Club. I honestly thought my toes had frozen off I was so cold. Thankfully The Diamond Club was nice and warm, and we all started to "thaw out" after a few minutes. We met a very nice family who had been standing in front of us outside the gates of The Ballpark then ended up behind us in the line to see Josh. They also had a copy of his book for him to sign.

When we finally got up to the table, Josh was very nice and very friendly. I had noticed that he had taken time to talk to each fan, instead of just signing whatever they had and letting them walk off. I thanked him for everything he had done and that I had really enjoyed his book. He said "God is good, isn't he?" I was like, "God is awesome." He agreed. He then asked my name and asked if I would like the book made out to me. I obviously agreed to that! I thanked him and he shook my hand and I told him God bless (yes, at this point Rachel was back on Cloud 9. For all of you who know me, I briefly met Josh last year at Fanfest. No autograph that time, but he did shake my hand. This encounter is going to last me another year!) :)

After we walked away from the table, we all noticed that he had put a different scripture on our autographs. Mine was Psalms 62:5, "Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him."

Talking to Josh Hamilton (the nice lady behind us took the picture with my camera)

Josh's autograph in my book!

Aaron and I decided to try and find somewhere else warm, so we checked out the gift shop. He talked me out of buying a really cute Rangers outfit. I honestly didn't have the money. I told him he was a true friend. Many of my friends who have let me buy it. I'm sure at some point before the season starts, I'll save up the money and go buy it! :) Did I mention it was really cute??

Me and my buddy Aaron!

It seems my friends were working in shifts for Fanfest. My friend Monica showed up at 1:00 so Aaron could leave (he actually had somewhere else to be). Thanks for braving the cold Aaron! Monica and I sat in the dugout, viewed the locker room and ran the bases (okay, walked the bases). We then stood in line (again in the cold) for an hour and a half to get Jarrod Saltalamacchia and David Murphy's autographs. I honestly think it had gotten colder as the day wore on. I couldn't feel any part of my body by the time we were let inside. I dropped Monica's camera at one point because I still had no feeling in my fingers (sorry again about that girl!)

I think since it was the end of the day (or maybe they felt sorry that we had waited out in the cold so long), they seemed to let the players take pictures with the fans (normally they don't allow that during Fanfest in order to save time). So, we were able to get pictures with "Salty" and David Murphy. It was the end of a great, but cold, day!!

Me and Monica in the dugout

Running (okay, walking) the bases

Standing by the beautiful field!

Me and Captain (the mascot of the Rangers)

Me and Salty

Me and David

Monica and Salty

Monica and David

Thursday, January 28, 2010

January 28, 1986: A day still not least not by me...

I'm not sure how many of you remember where you were 24 years ago today. On January 28, 1986 my classmates and I were sitting in Mrs. Ruiz's second grade class, very excited about a special and unique opportunity. We were going to watch the launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger. I don't know if we were more excited about being able to watch TV during school or that we were going to witness a piece of history: the first teacher in space. I remember how excited we were about counting down to liftoff. We cheered as the space shuttle lifted off the launch pad. Little did we know that 73 seconds later we, along with the rest of America, would witness a tragedy that I can still vividly see in my mind even today (and because of this I'm not going to post a video. If you want to watch it, you can find it on YouTube).

Like a lot of people watching, we had no clue what had happened when the Challenger first exploded. I can remember after a minute or two, Mrs. Ruiz got a strange look on her face. I've wondered if it was at that moment she realized what had actually happened. She finally turned off the television and it wasn't until later that day that someone came in to talk to us about it. They explained that something bad had happened that morning to the space shuttle. I remember someone in my class asking if the astronauts were dead, and they said yes.

Over the next few months, the evening news replayed the explosion over and over, and over. We kept seeing the reactions of the crowd, of the families, and of Christa McAuliffe's students in New Hampshire. I remember at one point my dad started turning the TV off during the news because it was too upsetting to watch. Up until September 11, 2001, I think it was the most horrific thing ever witnessed on live television. Also, up until 9/11, the Challenger Explosion was the "where were you" moment of my generation's lifetime.

January 28th might not be the familiar date that September 11th will always be, but still, I wanted to pay tribute to the seven astronauts who died living out their dream:
Michael J. Smith, Dick Scobee, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis and Judith Resnik.

It seems that most pictures of the Challenger's crew are copywrited, so I don't want to post them on my page without permission. You can Google them if you want. So, instead, I will post a picture of Mrs. Ruiz second grade class, way back from 1986.

                                                 Mrs. Ruiz's second grade class, 1985-1986

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Take You Back...

*DISCLAIMER**: I promise I'm not receiving anything from Jeremy Camp by promoting him so much on my blog. I realize this is like the third time I've posted one of his songs. I just seem to have a lot of his songs on my iPod, which I listen to everyday while driving to and from work. But, if you would like to know more about Jeremy Camp and his music, please go to his website here. :) *DISCLAIMER**

I had a good friend tell me recently, "I'm so glad God is in control of my life and not me." I agree, He is. Of course, being the stubborn, hard-headed person that I am (I know, you are shocked that I could possibly say such things about myself), I tend to forget at times that HE is in control, not me. You think by now I would learn to listen to Him, but no, I go ahead, do it "my way", leaving God up in Heaven shaking his head (and somtimes I'm sure he slaps his hand to his forehead and goes "do'h!") And it always ends the same way. I seem to crawl on my hands and knees back to God saying, "Okay, let's try it your way this time." And even though I screw up, I make mistakes and I don't live my life the way I should, God is ALWAYS there waiting for me, arms wide open. I know, the perfect image you all had of me is vanishing. But it's true. I'm not perfect. There, I said it. "Defriend me" if you must! :) But I was reminded recently that God loves us as we are, not as we should be. Amen to that!!

I heard this Jeremy Camp song earlier today and it made me think of how God is always there, willing to take us back after we "mess up". No matter what. So, of course, I had to share the video with you. I've posted the lyrics below as well!

Take You Back by Jeremy Camp

The reason why I stand

The answer lies in you
You hung to make me strong
Though my praise was few
When I fall I bring your name down
But I have found in you
A heart that bleeds forgiveness
replacing all these thoughts of painful memories
But I know that your response will always be

I'll take you back always
Even when your fight is over now (x2)
I'll take you back always and
Even when the pain is coming through (x2)
I'll take you back

You satisfy this cry
Of what I'm looking for
And I'll take all I can
And lay it down before
The throne of endless grace now that radiates what's true
I'm in the only place that
erases all these faults
That have overtaken me
But I know that your response will always be

I'll take you back always and
Even when your fight is over now(x2)
I'll take you back always
Even when the pain is coming through(x2)
I'll take you back

I can only speak with a grateful heart
As I'm pierced by this gift of your love
I will always bring an offering
I can never thank you enough

You take me back always
Even when my fight is over now (x2)
You take me back always
Even when my pain is coming through(x2)
You take me back (repeat these 5 lines twice)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Remembering Audrey...May 4, 1929 – January 20, 1993

I meant to post this yesterday, but I didn't get home from work until almost 8. And before I knew it, I got sucked into Criminal Minds and CSI: NY (we'll discuss my unhealthy obsession with crime shows another day). And after that, I was too tired to turn on my laptop.

Anyways, yesterday marked the 17th anniversary of the death of the wonderful, beautiful and talented Audrey Hepburn.

In case you haven't taken a good look at my blog or sidebar information, I'm a huge Audrey Hepburn fan. She is one of the few actresses I can think of and honestly say "she never made a bad movie". At least in my personal opinion. I love a lot of classic movies, but I have to say her movies are some of my favorites. When I went to IMDB (dot) com to look up her movies, I was shocked that she wasn't in more. I mean 31 movies is a lot, don't get me wrong, but for a classy actress such as herself, I would have thought she was in a lot more.

If you have never seen an Audrey Hepburn movie, I truly recommend checking one out, even if you don't like anything made before 1975 (you know who you are!) And for all of my black-and-white-movie-aphobic friends, most of her movies are in color, so you can't use that as an excuse!! And you KNOW who you are!! :) I'm not known for being a fan of "chick flicks", but Audrey movies are definitely my exception to the rule! :)

I've decided to list some of my favorite Audrey movies (in no particular order because I honestly couldn't put them in a "favorite" order).

Breakfast At Tiffany's: (also starring George Peppard, for all my A-Team friends, okay, that's just one of you I think, aka, John "Hannibal" Smith).


Besides My Fair Lady, this is one of the first Audrey movies I remember seeing. When I went to New York City a few years ago, I made my friend take a picture of me outside Tiffany and Co eating a donut (get it, I was having breakfast at Tiffany's). :)

Me in front of Tiffany and Co in 2007

Roman Holiday: (also starring the very talented Gregory Peck, aka, Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird, Captain Ahab in Moby Dick, or Robert Thorn in the 1976 version of The Omen). This has some romance, some action and some comedy all together in one movie. Did I mention it also had Gregory Peck in it? He is excellent in this movie!

Charade: (also starring the wonderful Cary Grant. I just have to say his name. I think that says it all). If you like suspense, this is a good one!

Wait Until Dark: Now, this is a movie that is full of suspense. Even some of my "classic-movie-aphobic" friends have enjoyed this one. Side note: best to watch at night..with the lights off. Trust me. Makes it 10 times better. I think this is possibly one of her best performance.

Sabrina: Oh yes, before the 1995 Harrison Ford version, there was with one starring Audrey, William Holden (from Sunset Blvd) and Humphrey Bogart.

Funny Face: (with Fred Astaire, you can bet there will be dancing in it!)

How To Steal A Million: (also starring Peter O'Toole). This one is great. Comedy, and of course, romance!

Paris When It Sizzles: (once again with William Holden. I won't mention that the two had a real life affair before making this movie-shhh). This one is great. I just happened to see it on Turner Classic Movies one day a few years ago. I had never even heard of it. I loved it!

The Children's Hour: okay, not really one of my favorite movies, it's very "un-Audrey" like if you ask me. Worth seeing though, the ending is surprising (remember this movie was made back in the 1960s!!)

Again, check these out if you would like. I think you might be pleasantly surprised. And if you know me personally, I have a lot of these on DVD. I'm always up for an Audrey marathon if you want to check them out!! :)

Audrey has an amazing story. I don't have time to put it all here (because I've rambled long enough), but I recommend checking out some of the sites below. "She dedicated her last five years to humanitarian work, traveling throughout the developing world on behalf of UNICEF and presenting to the rest of the world a provocative vision of children in pain, struggling to survive, or just fighting for basic human rights." More information on that can be found on her website below.

For Audrey's site, click here

For Wikipedia's information, click here:

"I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it's the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It's probably the most important thing in a person." - Audrey Hepburn

"Pick the day. Enjoy it - to the hilt. The day as it comes. People as they come... The past, I think, has helped me appreciate the present - and I don't want to spoil any of it by fretting about the future." - Audrey Hepburn

Friday, January 15, 2010

Happy Friday!!

So my plan to go home last night and update my blog fell a little short. The past few nights I've literally been in bed by 8:30 or 9. I used to be getting ready to go OUT at that time. I can blame it on getting older, or I can blame it on the fact I've started going back to the gym and working out again after work, and just feel exhausted by the time I get home. Yay, we are going to use that as the excuse. I would like to think that 31 is still young!

So, along with working out again, I've been trying to get better at eating healthier foods. For those who know me personally, you can go ahead and laugh. Go on, I'll wait. **insert elevator music** Are you done? Good, I'll continue. We'll see how long it lasts, but who knows, maybe this will be the year I actually keep up with one of my New Year's Resolutions. Although I did fall of the wagon and had a Chick Fil A milkshake on Monday. I had a rough day at work, I was weak!! By 5:00, I NEEDED that milkshake! There, confession is good for the soul.

                                                    manna from heaven

So, in order to be "healthier", I have decided to cut back on my Dr Pepper intake. THIS is probably my biggest challenge. My friends know, I BLEED Dr Pepper. It is what gets me going in the morning (I don't like coffee, so I have a morning DP). Don't judge, but my average intake is anywhere from 2 to 4 DPs a day. I am a Dr Pepper-a-holic. If they had Dr Pepper Anonymous meetings, I would be the president of them. So, as of last Friday, I have NOT started my day with any caffeine. In fact, until I went out for lunch today with my friend Derek (thanks again D, I had a lot of fun), I hadn't had a Dr Pepper or any form of caffeine since TUESDAY. So, ONE Dr Pepper every three days is REALLY good for me. And for the record, it was only a small sized DP too!
I did have a friend tell me when eating healthier you don't have to TOTALLY stop eating the foods you like, you just have to minimize how much you eat and how often. She said if you totally cut them out, they could become an obsession and it would be harder to stay away from them. So, instead of having cheese mashed potatoes three times a week (hey, they are easy to make, and very inexpensive), I've only had them once this week (and man, were they good!) And, until today at lunch, I hadn't had fast food, or any form of fried food, since Tuesday. Being the inexperienced cook that I am, I eat out a lot. No really, A LOT. This is why going three days between fast food visits is such a big deal for me. And both of those days I had "kid meal" sizes. It's so much easier after a long day at work, and a 45 minute-1 hour commute home, to go through the drive-thru of Whataburger and grab a #7 w/ no tomatoes or onions, than to go home and start cooking at 6:00-6:30 at night. Okay, so I'm lazy on top of being an inexperienced cook! But I'm getting better, no really, I am.

So, the past week I've started my mornings drinking V8 Splash or "light" apple juice (less sugar, more real fruit juice, at least according to the label) instead of a Dr Pepper. And for my snacks I've been eating fruit or a granola bar, instead of the chocolate candy that I have taken from my manager's office (she has a bowl on her desk of every chocolate candy you can think of). Snickers, Milky Ways, M&'s Chocolate Heaven.

OH, and speaking of eating healthier, I've noticed it costs a heck of a lot more to eat healthy foods. I spent about $8-9 buying fruits for this week (strawberries, apples, oranges and bananas) when I could have spent $1.99 on a week's worth of Little Debbie snacks. Most of my friends know I'm not a big fan of desserts (meaning cake or pie), BUT I do have a weakness for Little Debbie's chocolate cupcakes with creme filling. Yum!

So, as a recap. I'm attempting to eat less fried foods and sugary goodness, and instead eating more fruits and veggies. I do have a friend at work who is also cutting back on sugar, so it's nice to have sort of an accountability partner to help me out (thanks Linds!) I've also worked out three times this past week at the gym in my office building (I really have no excuse not to go. It's only 4 floors above mine, and it is free. Plus they have free workout classes with professional instructors). Let's just say all the cheese mashed potatoes and Chick Fil A milkshakes have made more "Rachel to love". Don't start sending me messages about how I don't need to lose weight. I'm not talking anything serious. Just maybe 5-8 "vanity pounds". I would like to possibly think about buying a bathing suit for the first time in three years and not feel like I look like a side show act at Sea World. There, I said it! Hey, it's my random thoughts, I say what is on my mind! : )

As always, thanks for reading, and have a wonderful weekend!!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Give You Glory...

Have you ever woken up singing a song? The past two mornings I have woken up with this song in my head: Give You Glory by Jeremy Camp. I personally think it's a great way to start the day, recognizing who we should be giving glory to all the time. I'll admit, there are times throughout the day when I don't feel like giving anyone or anything glory. I just want to sit, pout and have a "woe is me" pity party. It's kinda hard to do that when you hear this song though, at least in my opinion.

When I'm having a bad day (or having "a moment" at work- my close co-workers know what I mean), I put on this song. It helps me remember that no matter what is going on, it only matters that God is the one I am giving glory to. It doesn't matter that the system at work is running snail-pace slow. It doesn't matter that no one wants to take responsibility for their projects. It doesn't matter that some of my co-workers aren't doing what they are supposed to, and making my job 10 times harder (can you tell it's been one of those days at work)? I just need to stop, and remember who it's really all about. It's not all about me (I know, some of you are shocked), but it's not. It's about our Lord God Almighty.

For those who don't know the song, here is a YouTube video of it:

Give You Glory by Jeremy Camp

We have raised a thousand voices
Just to lift Your holy name
And we will raise thousands more
To sing of Your beauty in this place
Well none can even fathom
No not one define Your worth
As we marvel in Your presence
To the ends of the earth.

We give You glory,
Lifting up our hands and singing holy,
You alone are worthy
We just want to touch Your heart, Lord, touch Your heart
Glory, lifting up our voice and singing holy,
You alone are worthy
We just want to touch Your heart, Lord, touch Your heart

As we fall down before You
With our willing hearts we seek
In the greatness of Your glory
It's so hard to even speak
There is nothing we can offer
No nothing can repay
So we give You all our praises
And lift our voice to sing

We give You glory,
Lifting up our hands and singing holy,
You alone are worthy
We just want to touch Your heart, Lord, touch Your heart
Glory, lifting up our voice and singing holy,
You alone are worthy
We just want to touch Your heart, Lord, touch Your heart

Our hope is drenched in You
Our faith has been renewed
We trust in Your every word
Nothing else can even measure up to You.
We give You glory,
Lifting up our hands and singing holy,
You alone are worthy
We just want to touch Your heart, Lord, touch Your heart
Glory, lifting up our voice and singing holy,
You alone are worthy
We just want to touch Your heart, Lord, touch Your heart

Speaking of giving God glory, I saw this interview last night of Colt McCoy, the now former quarterback for the University of Texas Longhorns (he's a senior, this was his last game). I don't personally know Colt, but after seeing this interview with him, I think he showed some real class. I appreciate how he still was giving God glory, despite getting hurt and missing the biggest game of his college career. God bless you Colt, may God lead you where He wants you to go!